Following its past sold-out Christmas musicals (Sunday in the Park with George, Little Shop of Horrors, La Cage aux Folles, A Little Night Music, Sweet Charity and Pippin), Menier Chocolate Factory announces the casting for its hugely anticipated revival of the Sondheim / Furth musical Merrily We Roll Along as its Christmas 2012 show.
With the directorial debut by triple Olivier award-winning actress Maria Friedman, the production’s cast includes Damian Humbley, Jenna Russell, Mark Umbers, Josefina Gabrielle, Clare Foster, Glyn Kerslake and Zizi Strallen.
Merrily We Roll Along is based on the 1934 play of the same name by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, and scrolls back through the career of talented composer Franklin Shepard, who has abandoned his friends, family and Broadway songwriting career to become a producer of lucrative Hollywood films. As key moments of his life are replayed, decisions, choices, priorities and the price of success are equally reevaluated. This powerful and moving story features some of Sondheim’s most beautiful songs including ‘Good Thing Going’, ‘Not a Day Goes By’ and ‘Old Friends’
Mark Umbers plays Franklin Shepard. He was last seen at the Menier in Sweet Charity as Oscar / Vittorio and was most recently in the West End in The Browning Version (Chichester Festival/Harold Pinter Theatre). He appeared at The National Theatre in My Fair Lady (and Theatre Royal, Drury Lane), Candide and The Merchant of Venice. Film and television work has seen him playing opposite Richard E. Grant in the BBC’s The Scarlet Pimpernel, Scarlett Johansson in A Good Woman, John Malkovich in Colour Me Kubrick and Lauren Bacall and Anjelica Huston in These Foolish Things.
Damian Humbley plays Charley Kringas. He was last seen at the Menier Chocolate Factory in The Last Five Years. He also played Seymour in the UK tour of the Chocolate Factory’s production of Little Shop of Horrors. His recent theatre credits include Company (Crucible, Sheffield) and Lend Me a Tenor - the Musical at the Gielgud Theatre.
They are joined by Jenna Russell playing Mary Flynn. Jenna played Dot in the 2007 Menier Chocolate Factory transfer of Sunday in the Park with George to the West End and Broadway, for which she won the Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical and was nominated for a Tony Award for Leading Actress in a Musical. Her extensive theatre credits include Soho Cinders (Soho Theatre), Season’s Greetings (National Theatre), Guys and Dolls (Piccadilly; Olivier Award nomination), RSC productions of As You Like It, Anthony and Cleopatra and The Winter’s Tale; and as Natasha in Max Stafford Clark’s The Three Sisters for the Royal Court.
Clare Foster (Beth Spencer) is appearing at the Leicester Curve in the new musical Finding Neverland and was most recently seen playing Polly in the West End in the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre production of Crazy for You.
Josefina Gabrielle returns to the Chocolate Factory, after her Olivier nominated performance in Sweet Charity, to play Gussie Carnegie. Her musical theatre credits include Hello Dolly (Regent’s Park), Me and My Girl (Crucible, Sheffield), UK tours of The King and I, Oklahoma, Fame and A Chorus Line; and Trevor Nunn’s production of Oklahoma! (National Theatre and Broadway; Olivier Award nomination).